Printulu assists thousands of successful businesses every year. Company letterheads are one of the most common and well-known pieces of stationery that business owners order with us, and when the design needs to be done, the order comes through to me. 

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I am the senior graphic designer at Printulu, and hundreds of those clients we print for come to me for design assistance. So it’s fair to say that I have had loads of print design experience. But one thing that always takes a toll on my day is seeing the amount of companies that do not adhere to South African law with their designs. 

This is most prevalent in letterhead designs. Believe it or not, if you don’t include these 5 things in your letterhead design, you could be landing yourself – and your business – in very, VERY big trouble.

Most people assume that a letterhead is just a fancy bit of printing on their business stationery. It definitely adds authority and a sense of legitimacy to your business meetings, yes. But its intended purpose is much more important.

Avoid a brush with the law: 5 things your letterhead design SHOULD DEFINITELY include. 

There are 3 categories of business to consider.

COMPANIES

This is likely the most common category that needs to be considered. Companies (including private, personal liability and public companies) need to contain the following information on their letterheads: 

  1. The full name of the company
  2. Its place of registration
  3. Its registration number
  4. The address of its registered office
  5. The address of its principal place of business (if it is different to the registered address)

With companies you do not need to include the names of the directors on the letterhead; however, you may elect to name your directors, and if you do, you are required to name all the directors.

Let’s take a look at the last two categories.

PARTNERSHIP

Partnerships must include the following information on their letterheads: 

  • The names of all partners
  • The address of the principal place of business

If there are too many partners to including on the letterhead, you may indicate, on the letterhead, where a comprehensive list of the partner may be found (e.g. a website link).

SOLE PROPRIETOR

Sole proprietors must include the following information on their on all letterheads: 

  • The Sole Proprietor’s name
  • The address of their principal place of business. 

Often a business will “trade” under a different name to its actual name (i.e. a “trading as” name);  if a business uses a different name to trade, the actual name of the business must also be recorded on the letterhead.

The above information does not need to go in the heading of the page but it must be somewhere on the page.

It is not a requirement to include all the companies contact details (e.g. telephone; fax number, email; website; etc); however, it is certainly a good idea to include this information.

The above information should also be on your invoices, receipts, and order forms.

An example of a company letterhead

Let’s move on to designing the letterhead…

After finishing my Honours degree, there is one thing I learned that stood out more than anything else. And that is: brand identity. There’s some vital information that has nothing to do with the law, but everything to do with common sense. Let me explain…

  1. You need to include your business’ South African telephone number and email address, so people can reach you.
  2. A company slogan never hurt anyone! Be sure to include a strong, short slogan so that people know right away what your business is all about.
  3. Logo, logo, logo. There is nothing more ineffective than a letterhead with no visual presence. Be sure to include your company logo and any other visual elements that are crucial to the company’s brand guidelines. But more on that here.

Although the use of snail mail is dwindling, a letterhead remains a key factor in your company’s overall brand identity. Remember that the letterhead should be in line with your company’s brand guidelines for consistency and brand recognition. Ultimately, a company’s letterhead should be designed to represent the image that the company wishes to portray and be consistent with the company’s other branding and design. 

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I know everyone doesn’t have access to high-level design software like Adobe Illustrator, because they can be expensive and have a bit of a learning curve. That’s why I’ve included some handy tips on designing your printed letterheads with Canva, a free online design tool. Canva online is a tool that provides thousands of free templates along with extraordinary features to design all these brand kits. 

Let’s go through the step by step process.

1. Log in or Sign up with Canva

Go to Canva or launch the app then log in or sign up for a new account using your email, Google or Facebook profile. Search for “Letterheads” to start designing.

2. Select a template

Browse professionally-designed letterhead templates for artists, businesses, law firms, churches, charities and more. Click on your preferred layout and start customizing.

3. Create a personalized design

Customize your letterheads to truly suit your business or brand. Swap out fonts and colors, add your own logo or image and edit the text. It takes just a few clicks to get the exact letterhead you need.

4. Get creative with more design features
Tweak your designs further using our drag and drop design tools. Plus, search through millions of images, icons, stickers and illustrations, and font combinations to add to your design.

5. Order your prints

Save your design as a Print PDF file. Remember you can always edit your design any time. Place your order with Printulu and you’re ready to go!

A last couple of pro tips.

Don’t go crazy.

 It’s easy to get carried away when designing a letterhead. Just remember that the purpose is a meaningful platform for sending written communication. This means you need to leave room for the content, and the visual design of the letterhead should not distract the recipient from the content. Keep it simple and keep it usable.

Colour or no colour?

Colour is usually good—it says, “I cared enough about my image to show I didn’t just print this on my office laser printer.” Just don’t go overboard; your logo and one or two other places are probably all the colors you need.

Fancy add-ons.

There was a time when raised lettering, cutouts, expensive linen paper, and custom watermarks were essential, but considering the limited applications for which you will use your letterhead, these are probably no longer worth the extra money. Stick to the basics – a great paper stock and classy design.

Need help with your letterhead design?

We can help with that. Printulu has a highly qualified graphic design team that can design your products for you in no time!

Check out our letterhead product here, and remember to select the design service you require before placing your order. Our designer will get back to you within two business days with your design revision after you’ve submitted your brief.

Have any questions for us? Drop them in the comment section below or send an email to support@printulu.co.za. Our friendly Customer Care agents will get back to you ASAP.

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P.S. Printing your letterheads? Get the full package. Check out our business cards, flyers and presentation folders too.

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